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Ubuntu Focusing on Cutting Edge, Not Stability

Yesterday, Martin Owens wrote on his site "Ubuntu broke so Now I use Windows" and I have to thank him for taking the time to write this as most other Ubuntu Community members would not dare touch this subject.

Im an Ubuntu user since 6.10 and have converted MANY people and installed Ubuntu on approx 75 machines now. All major problems cropped up for me around 11.04 Natty release so I keep people on hold at 10.10. Its interesting to read how Ubuntu users STILL have problems with Unity and Natty randomly freezing. Thats a major reason why after two months of using Natty I went back to 10.10 and quite happy.

I have been working with 11.10 since 1st beta and its extremely buggy still. This is hard to grasp considering we are only two weeks out from release. I think Ubuntu should focus on usability and quality instead of cutting edge systems that are unstable for most. Ive had five friends jump to Unity interface only to have all five go back to 10.10. For me, Unity is unproductive. Why should I mouse over, wait a second or two for Unity to appear, then mouse and wait more for the workspace switcher to get to my workspaces? Why should I have to break my concentration and flow by leaving the mouse to do keyboard shortcuts? So much easier to have my workspaces nestled in 10.10 on the bottom panel and right there for me. And thats just one example.

My sister is an avid Ubuntu user, buying a System76 a couple years back (and still working flawless). She wanted to use Unity so I put Natty on for her. She became very frustrated at just using an operating system to get basic tasks done. If Unity is your only intro to Ubuntu, then Yes, maybe it can make some sense, but as stated in the previous paragraph, it takes more steps (mental & physical) to get common tasks accomplished. She had enough after two weeks and yesterday I put her back on 10.10. The random lockups and system freezes was the clincher for her as she loved the Unity interface yet still found it difficult to use.

Maybe Ubuntu should consider going to a one year cycle to work out kinks and make the OS something to be feared for its usability AND stability. Many users still on 10.04 LTS and 10.10 (maybe natty too?) are unable to put an audio CD in and have Rhythmbox or Banshee pull up the track data. A major bug that gets left by the wayside because focus is always on the next release which always seems to be right around the corner. A one year cycle fixes these sorts of bugs that can get forgotten, yet are important to many many people.

Why not have Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Edubuntu, Mythbuntu, etc all wrapped into one DVD? Users can pick at the beginning of install which they want, or if they have space, install all and be able to switch between them.

Just my 2 cents. I know nothing will change and us Ubuntu people need to speak up more instead of just being a fanboy or spokesperson for a great OS that might have some issues, in turn, pushing potential users away and making long time users look for other distros and operating systems.

My feet are firmly planted on Ubuntu's soil. Sure, Im probably labeled a fanboy by some, but stability should really be #1 priority. The best Ubuntu reviews I get from people are from 10.04 and 10.10 as they are pretty close to rock solid.

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  1. Anonymous8:59 PM

    i'm guessing your problem is only with Unity so if you don't like it why downgrade and not just run Ubuntu Classic in natty? Unity is great (sure it has problems, like all my previous installs of Ubuntu) but it's stable and never froze on me.
    Not everyone has to like the same stuff. maybe you didn't get used to it as well as some, but that's not Canonical's fault, that's why there are alternatives.
    BTW Ubuntu can't be shipped along with other flavours as one distro because ubuntu (gnome) is supported by Canonical (official distro) and the others are community projects ;)

  2. It is true that Im not a big fan of Unity and pretty much anyone I know is not, save one or two people. I grant you that. But I cant run Natty in classic mode because Natty still has freeze ups and complete lock ups on various systems.

    This issue for me mostly is stability. Some pretty basic things should work, especially in an LTS like 10.04. The music apps using MusicBrainz for disc data just dont work anymore and the fix seems to be released, but never sent upstream. The priority may not be there with twice yearly distro releases always at the forefront.

    Ubuntu One is great if it works. Ive fully switched to it, "dropping" Dropbox entirely. But on any system I have installed 10.04 or 10.10... Ubuntu One just doesnt sync. Ive found my own work around... to install Rye's "ubuntuone-indicator" and to install the Ubuntu One nightlies PPA. Problem solved. I love Ubuntu One. But if it doesnt work well for many, whats the use of it?

    Thanks for the comments, I do appreciate them!

  3. Anonymous10:50 PM

    So dumb. I'll take stable over new any day.

  4. Anonymous8:32 AM

    Couldn't agree more. STABLE is the key. That said, I won't change anything until 12.04 but I'm not keen on the direction Ubuntu is heading. This kind of bleeding edge stuff is exactly why I left RH, SuSE and others over the years.

  5. Anonymous9:55 AM

    Ubuntu 11.10 here. I just switched back to Windows 7 right now as Unity is freaking sluggish and freezes every 3-4 hours. And I tell you my friend that I have a pretty decent hardware here (an LG laptop, Intel i7, NVidia 3D card and shit). And that stupid vertical task bar also piss the shit off me.

    I will definitely switch to Linux Mint.

  6. Hello Anon... I have been back to using Unity the past month and I am tired of it AGAIN. Thankfully you can easily switch (in 11.10) to a GNOME 2.x style with a few changes.

    The first step is to install the ‘gnome-fallback-session’ from the Ubuntu Software Centre. Click the button below to do this.

    To change the panel background...

    Alt+Right click on the top panel
    Choose ‘Properties’
    Select the ‘background’ tab
    Select background image and click the button
    Navigate/select ‘usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-2.0/apps/img/panel.png’

    Now Install Ubuntu indicators

    Add ‘ppa:jconti/gnome3‘ to your Software Sources
    Update, then install ‘Indicator-applet-complete’.
    Alt+Right click on the top panel
    Choose ‘Add Applets’
    Add ‘Indicator Applet Complete’

    Add the Ubuntu Logo to ‘App Menu’

    Open a new Terminal
    Run: gksu gedit /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/apps/gnome-panel.css
    Add ‘-PanelMenuBar-icon-visible: true;’ (sans quote marks) to the bottom of the ‘PanelMenuBar.menubar.menuitem’ item (see image)
    Logout and back in to see change take effect

    To move/rearrange panels/item

    ALT+Right click on a panel or item to add, move or edit it

  7. Anonymous3:58 PM

    Ya know I had issuess with Ubuntu 11.10 also but googling around I found the solution to the boot issue I had with stalling during boot*** or something to do with Advanced Bios option* C1E its suppose to put the processor/s at lowest processor cycle during idle mode* Once I disabled this feature on the bios my whole system is rock stable and I mean rock stable... I'm happy as a worm finally ......

  8. Anon... me too... the newest version of Ubuntu ...12.04 is alrerady really stable and its still in beta testing!

  9. Yafes2:26 AM

    I don't understand why mouse wait when I try to move mouse to another workspace...